The gall bladder stores extra-concentrated bile and releases it when you eat to help break down food. Bile is vital to the digestive system but sometimes the bile stored in the gall bladder can harden into gall stones. These stones can get trapped inside the body and cause extreme pain. The pain usually originates around the right shoulder blade and can radiate down the arm and across the back. Pain usually comes and goes but over time the pain will become more constant.
Things You'll Need
- Apples and other fresh fruits and vegetables
- Pain reliever
- Heating pad or ice pack
Reduce immediate pain first. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever and use either a heating pad or ice pack. Use whichever one makes you feel better. Some people find relief with heat, while others with ice. Gall bladder pain is often coupled with heartburn, so take an antacid as well. Spicy food can be a trigger, so it's best to avoid eating anything that is too spicy.
Cut fat out of your diet to prevent future attacks. A high-fat diet increases the odds of your body creating gall stones. Cut as much fat out of your diet as possible to reduce the odds of future gall stones. Animal fat seems to be especially linked to gall stones, so avoid greasy hamburgers and other high-fat meats.
Switch to whole grain bread. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that incidence of gall stones are much higher in people who eat white bread made with refined flour. Some people have a hard time switching over but today there are many products that make it easier such as whole grain white bread and breads that are made with half white flour and half whole grain that can help you with the transition.
Eat more fresh foods. Eating fruits and vegetables is better for you no matter what your health situation may be, but it is especially important when you have gall bladder pain. Fruits and vegetables can actually dissolve gall stones that have already formed. Apples are especially good at dissolving gall stones.
See your doctor. A healthier diet can keep the pain under control and might even reverse the problems, but if you have too many gall stones it can lead to pancreatitis, which is painful and can make you very sick. Your doctor will perform an ultrasound to look for gall stones and to discover their locations. Together you can decide if you need surgery or just a healthier diet to eliminate the pain.
Tips & Warnings
- If your doctor recommends surgery, don't fret. You will feel almost instant relief from the gall bladder pain, and recovery from gall bladder surgery is usually quick. You will be up and around within 24 hours and back to your old self in less than a week.
- If pain becomes unbearable, go to your nearest emergency room immediately. You may have an infection and could become very ill if not treated.